Archive for July 2003

Can’t Hardly Wait

July 24, 2003

Bust out your super-size Che posters – next week is social justice week at UWA!

Logical Conclusion Reached

July 24, 2003

In all its glory – the end result of indiscriminate public funding of increasingly stupid research topics:

Four researchers who culled through 50 years of research literature about the psychology of conservatism report that at the core of political conservatism is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality, and that some of the common psychological factors linked to political conservatism include:

– Fear and aggression
– Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity
– Uncertainty avoidance
– Need for cognitive closure
– Terror management

That’s right kiddies! Conservatives are mentally unbalanced!

Disparate conservatives share a resistance to change and acceptance of inequality, the authors said. Hitler, Mussolini, and former President Ronald Reagan were individuals, but all were right-wing conservatives because they preached a return to an idealized past and condoned inequality in some form. Talk host Rush Limbaugh can be described the same way.

I invoke Godwin’s law!

Contrary to the researcher’s findings, Reagan embraced many changes. One shining example was the decision (as then governor) to employ helicopters to fire teargas canisters into herds of morons at the UC Berkeley campus, where this rubbish was written. As the original poster notes:

It remains the only military airstike on an American University to this day. The best part is that we don’t have to pine for an “idealized past.” In the real past, lefty nutjobs at Berkeley really were heavily sprayed with teargas.


Glaser acknowledged that the team’s exclusive assessment of the psychological motivations of political conservatism might be viewed as a partisan exercise. However, he said, there is a host of information available about conservatism, but not about liberalism.

This must come as quite a shock to Jon Ray.

If anti-leftist publications were helicopters, Jon would be followed everywhere he roamed by a full orchestra playing “Ride of the Valkyries“. I don’t think those guys were looking particularly hard.

Melbourne Bloggers

July 24, 2003

If you aren’t busy this weekend, Carlton could use some assistance.

Nerds Review Life

July 24, 2003

Gamespot reviews one of the most underrated games of all time: Real Life!

The only problem is you’re relegated to playing as a human character, though the game does randomly choose one of several different races for you (which have little bearing on gameplay and mostly just affect appearances and your standing with certain factions).

The gameplay itself is extremely open-ended, though it’s structured in such a way that you’ll have a fairly clear path to follow when you’re just starting out. Real life features a great system whereby newbie players will automatically be guided along through the early levels by one or more “parent” characters who elect to take newbie characters under their wing. This is a great system, as these older, more-experienced characters reap their own benefits from doing a good job of guiding the newbie character along.

It’s also true that real life is constantly being refined. Some players argue that many of the numerous changes constantly being made are for the worse–for example, players running once-profitable tobacco companies, as well as the players who are addicted to using popular tobacco products, often complain that the tobacco business is being “nerfed” for no good reason. But either way, it’s good to know that players are able to actively improve certain features that require finer tuning. This keeps the developers free to focus on bigger issues.

Ultimately, if you take a step back and look at the big picture, you’ll see that real life is an impressive and exciting experience, despite its occasional and sometimes noticeable problems. It says a lot for real life that, even with these issues, it’s still very highly recommendable. Simply put, those missing out on real life are doing just that.

Found at Nepenthe Island.

Dumbleyung #1

July 24, 2003

Dumbleyung not only produces great footballers, but also Australia’s best farmers:

A WEST AUSTRALIAN farmer who can mend a fence and understands conservation farming techniques has been named Australia’s young farmer of the year.

Shayne Smith, 23, works on his family’s 3000ha wheat and sheep property near Dumbleyung.

He beat seven other young farmers from around the country, topping them in fields such as welding, conservation faming systems, fence mending and farm general knowledge.

Mr Smith plans to take over the family farm one day, but admits life on the land does not look all that inviting to other young people.

Even when being praised for his own excellence, Smithy doesn’t forget to remind Australia of the mighty Kukerin-Dumbleyung Cougars, or the sad demise of the Dumbleyung Parrots:

Another problem caused by the lack of young people in country areas was in the social connections that keep many rural towns alive.

Mr Smith’s own local Australian football team Dumbleyung had to merge with nearby Kukerin a few years back just to keep afloat.

“It’s a problem all over Australia, it means you have to travel further to play, and it’s a sign of the lack of young people,” he said.

Luckily, there’s still enough young people left to make the Grand Final for 9 of the last 11 years.

(thanks to Slatts for the tip-off)

Thwarted By Googlebots

July 23, 2003

A few weeks ago, while browsing Google News for material to blog about, I finally got fed up with continually being returned results from “Green Left Weekly“. The editors at Google seem to be under the false impression that because the DSP cleverly packages their propaganda in a newspaper-like format, it is an actual newspaper.

The DSP freely admits that it funds and publishes “Green Left Weekly”:

Green Left Weekly:

Australia’s best and most widely circulated progressive newspaper, which the DSP and Resistance help produce and distribute.

Not really being an industry insider, I thought this would be pretty conclusive proof that it’s not actually a newspaper. I fired off this email to Google:

This email is regarding the Australian Google News Service. Searching google news Australia frequently returns articles published in the online version of “Green Left Weekly”.

Green Left Weekly is not a news service. It is the propaganda arm of the Democratic Socialist party of Australia, which is in turn affiliated with the International Socialist Alliance, a worldwide organisation committed to the promotion of marxist-leninist ideology in Western Nations.

It is no more appropriate to link to articles published by “Green Left
Weekly” than it would be to link to articles published by One Nation, The
Australian Nationalist Movement, or any of the major Australian political

Propaganda packaged to look like a newspaper is still propaganda. I ask that
google news review its policy of linking articles to published in “Green
Left Weekly” as soon as possible.

Sam Ward,

Perth, Australia.

Anyway, google have responded:

Hi Sam,

Thanks for your feedback. We aim to include as many news sources as
possible in Google News, and we value your opinion. If you know of a news
site that you would like us to add to our news crawl, please send us the
URL and we will review it.

The Google Team

While I’m not sure that they even read my email, I’m thinking of taking google up on their offer. After all.. If “Green Left” is a news site, then so are lots of other sites many people would find overtly dishonest and repugnant, such as “God Hates Fags”, Stormfront, NAAWP etc.

What’s that I hear you say?

These sound like hate sites?

I thought I’d better check, so I looked up this list on how to identify a hate site:

1. Capitalize on Paranoia
2. Suggest Sanction from Above
3. Exploit Fear of Armageddon

The article further states that the following tactics are frequently employed by hate sites:

1. Racialism
2. Pseudo-Science and Intellectualism
3. Historical Revisionsim
4. Patriotism
5. Misinformation
6. Nationalism
7. Hate Symbols

As “Green Left” seems to satisfy all 10 criteria, being a “hate site” doesn’t preclude you from being indexed on Google News. After all, Google themselves indicated they want to list as many sites as possible. I’d be only too happy to help them out.

Au Revoir Les Enfants

July 23, 2003

Uday and Qusay are dead.

THE Iraqi capital erupted in an explosion of celebratory gunfire today on news the two sons of Saddam Hussein may have been killed in northern Iraq, AFP correspondents said.

“Uday and Qusay are dead, we saw it on TV,” Hassan Zaif said as he fired his Kalashnikov rifle skyward.

People were seen standing on rooftops and emptying their clips into a night aglow with tracer bullets, while a few Baghdadis ventured out onto the streets to watch the skies lit red by the volley.

The Age couldn’t confirm this story when it posted it online 5 minutes ago, but I’ve just seen some military dude on the TV confirming the kiddies are, in fact, eating worms.

Centcom confirms:

Four Iraqis were killed in the operation. We have confirmed that two of the dead were Saddam?s sons Uday and Qusay.

Dow Jones was impressed.

Devine Put In Her Place

July 22, 2003

David Marr was at his dribbling best in the latest episode of “Conservative Media Watch” tonight. The wide range of targets included conservative columnist Andrew Bolt, and conservative columnist Miranda Devine. Taking issue with Miranda Devine’s derision of the “Jesus was gay” researcher, Marr noted:

But six weeks before Miranda gave it another go, the University of Queensland had put out a rather killjoy clarification which Miranda ignored.

Media reports in recent days have incorrectly stated that The University of Queensland funded a study into the sexuality of Jesus Christ. Rollan McCleary? did not write his thesis on the subject ? but rather on the broad topic of gay spirituality in Western civilization?

The sad thing is that Dave actually seems to believe that he made some kind of point…


Why Iraq In Under 10,000 Words

July 22, 2003

Steven Den Beste posts on the justification for war in Iraq. The big news, and this will probably come as a shock to most people: Saddam buying uranium from Niger wasn’t actually a huge part of the reason. Neither, it seems, was oil.

HOWEVER: Steve comes up with an idea of some merit:

If Bush had wanted to conquer somewhere with lots of oil cheaply, he’d have sent one carrier battle group and a division of Marines to conquer the UAE. (In fact, one brigade would probably have been enough.)

Among the crimes of the UAE: Their national airline sponsors the Collingwood football club.

Hmm….upon looking at that page, Collingwood are also sponsored by the nanny statist WIPE OFF 5 campaign, FRENCH Car company Renault, and Hard Yakka, a clothing company who produce Orwellian uniforms for the working class!

Add Eddie Macguire’s face on every billboard and lamp-post in town, spouting propaganda across all forms of media; deliberate attempts to recruit impressionable teenagers into their organisation; opposition to inequalities in wages…..Well, need I say more?

Intrepid Yobbo researchers uncovered the horrifying truth!

Bloggers Needed. Degree Preferred…

July 21, 2003

Adam points to a new position available at Google, offering customer support for the new Blogger service. I gave the ad a quick scan to see how qualified I would be for the position.

Of course, the position is in California, so I’m not actually going to apply, but this is an exercise I like to do anyway, just to confirm that I may possibly get a job one day.

Skills and experiences you’ll need to do the job well:

Have kept a blog* for at least 6 months and be passionate about online, personal publishing.

Seems to make sense. After all, it’s a blogging-specific position. Having run a blog yourself could come in quite handy…

Excellent written and verbal communication skills.

I have never seen a job ad that didnt specify this requirement. Why is it even necessary to ask? Surely the interviewer could tell if a person’s communications skills aren’t up to scratch?

Ability to collaborate across multiple departments and groups.

Wouldn’t this come under “Being a functioning member of society”?

Prior customer service experience.

This could be actually useful. On the other hand, serving customers isn’t exactly rocket science. This is kind of related to “communication skills”.

Knowledge of HTML, CSS, FTP and personal web hosting.

An actual skill! It’s good to know that skills are sometimes still required to get jobs nowadays.

This next one is the kicker though…

BS/BA preferred.

Ah the good old “Must have degree, even if unrelated to job in any way” clause. Now, it’s only preferred, which is code for “We’ll take the degree in a close race”, but even so…

In what way would having a random degree in science or arts make you a better customer service officer? If I have a bachelor of science in Horticulture, why am I more qualified than the guy who blogged away while mowing lawns for a living?

It’s probably nice for the guy who just graduated from his 3 year investigation into Women’s Issues to know that he is now qualified to email people and tell them where they stuffed their code up, but did it really make him a better programs co-ordinator?

It really puzzles me no end why employers insist on having every employee being university educated. Wouldn’t it be more important to have someone who actually knows what they are doing and works hard? Who’s going to be the better employee…The 21 year old who’s been working at Blockbuster for the last 4 years while running the Video Blog, or a 21 year old who recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy? I know who I’d pick.

It’s because of this mentality that the university system is such a drain on public money. People feel they have to attend university just to get ANY kind of job. It’s a pretty common practice to just apply for whatever course is easiest in the hope of graduating with little fuss and finally making it to the workforce in 3-4 years time. The vast majority of graduates never again use a single thing they learned in their studies in the workplace.

In my view the companies that demand every last shitkicker have a degree are just as much at fault as anyone in perpetuating the degree inflation that is spiralling out of control everywhere you look. The thing I can’t work out is…what’s in it for them?

The only people that stand to gain anything from the irrelevant degree factories are the faux academics that teach them. The losers are, as usual, the taxpaying public AND companies that fund them with their taxes.

You have to practice what you preach. The same business leaders that decry the public funding of humanities and other such degrees of little relevance are the ones that hire “recruitment consultants” who invariably value a meaningless degree higher than any actual skill or aptitude testing.

Here’s a thought: How about hiring people on merit rather than making them jump through infinite hoops? Unless, of course, you are running a circus, where hoop jumping would be a useful skill. Note: You now need a degree to join a circus.